When "Survivor: Cagayan" premieres Wednesday, it will mark the start of the popular reality series' 28th season. Contestants have been trying to outwit, outplay and outlast each other since 2000, and since then the show has seen several twists to its gameplay. This season players are divided into three tribes based on athleticism, attractiveness and intellect. Who will series host Jeff Probst announce as the winner? To get an inside look at this season, The Gazette chatted with Rob Cesternino, a two-time "Survivor" contestant (and insider) and the host of the reality TV podcast, "Rob Has A Podcast."
Gazette: "Survivor" has gone with a brawn vs. brains vs. beauty theme this season. What's your take on this twist?
Rob Cesternino: I really love this idea for the new "Survivor season." Admittedly, it's a somewhat silly way to divide the teams, but I think it's a great hook.
Especially for a season without returning players, you need something to market the show with and I think this idea really was a novel way to go.
Gazette: Who has the edge - brains, beauty or brawn - and which tribe will the winner come from?
Cesternino: I am a big fan of all the players on the Brains Tribe, but I'm concerned that there will be too many egos for them to be a cohesive unit. I actually think that the Brawn Tribe has the best chance for sustained success in the game. ... I also believe the Brawn Tribe won't be prone to overthinking and turning on each other.
Gazette: Based on what you've learned about the cast so far, who are your favorites going into this season?
Cesternino: After studying everybody for our big season preview special on "Rob Has a Podcast," I felt really strongly about Sarah Lacina, a female police officer. She was keenly observant about the other players and is a big fan of the show. Plus, she is strong without being overly muscular. She is smart without looking like a know-it-all.
She's the total package but doesn't look the part of a major "Survivor" threat. I like her chances.
Gazette: There is no Redemption Island this season and the cast is also made up entirely of new contestants. What kind of impact will that have on the show?
Cesternino: I think Redemption Island is a good way to keep the fan favorites who got voted out around for another week or two. But I like the purity of the game without Redemption Island. Plus, the extra time that was used for the Redemption Island challenge can be spent on learning who these new players are.